This paper aims at exploring how the European Union (EU) could contribute to tackling the socio-economic challenges facing the countries of the Gulf, thus also capitalising on the opportunity to inject new stimulus into its relations with the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC). In particular, the paper argues in favour of pursuing a strategic dialogue through a new economic framework focused on addressing some of the critical issues standing in the way of development sustainability in the Gulf. A special attention is devoted to specific rising sectors that, as drivers of soft power, could impact the mutual perception across the two regions. Against this backdrop, Oman is presented as a case study as it could be a significantly fertile terrain to apply this framework and, at the same time, the country has shown to be a peculiar actor in foreign policy, one that the EU should better engage.
1. Economic and Political Interests Intertwined
2. New Challenges: Setting the Ground for Changes?
2.1. Obstacle or opportunity?
3. Innovating the Partnership
3.2. Film industry